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Lt. Commander
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 120
# 16
02-27-2012, 09:58 AM
Originally Posted by Sekrit_Agent
Quite frankly, the STO forums are a mess. It's good that Stormshade got some help from the community but one of the things that need to be addressed is that the forums don't work all that well in the first place. Here are my top 5 issues with the current incarnation of the forums.
As much as I hate threaded quotes, I'm going to do it here just in include my thoughts on each of the issues you brought up.

Originally Posted by Sekrit_Agent
1. There are far too many categories and subcategories. Too many threads are getting moved and using inconsistent criteria. Many (negative) C-Store threads are banished to the C-Store subforum, most Duty Officer posts are tossed into the DOff subforum, while posts giving feedback about Featured Episodes are almost never moved (especially if the feedback is positive). For example:
  • Really what is the difference between "The Academy" and "Federation Shipyards" and "Klingon Fleetyards" and "Character Builds and Powers" and "Bridge Officer Builds and Powers"? I know what each is meant for and what each looks like, but is this really 5 different forums when "The Academy" is a stack of stickied posts on all of the above topics?
  • Similarly, why do we have "PvE Gameplay" and "Missions and Episodes" and "Federation Gameplay" and "Klingon Gameplay" all together? Surely there are some synergies here?
  • Why is "General Community Feedback" separated from "Star Trek Online Discussion"? These appear to be the exact same thing.
I agree that the fleet yards could be combined. But The Academy is meant for basic beginner help (what is the difference between a phaser array and a plasma array) while the fleet yards are meant for more advanced help (which is better for my ship, a MkXII Antiproton Array [CritD] or a MkII Phaser Array [ACC]?) The only reason I can see them staying separate is because the needs of a Klingon Captain differs from that of a Fed Captain.

It used to be worse than this. Cruisers, Escorts, and Science vessels used to have their own threads and they were consolidated to this. I agree some of the threads could still use some consolidation.

Originally Posted by Sekrit_Agent
2. The above makes It (even more) difficult to communicate with the developers. Are these categories laid out by how Cryptic teams work? I can easily identify Duty Officers where Heretic works, Art where CapnLogan works (???), and Foundry where...god knows who works, as it's disturbingly empty...but the point is that it feels very difficult to get developer attention on issues with this proliferation. I get the impression many developers don't even bother reading the forums and/or are uninterested in feedback from players. I'd hope response rates would improve based on this alignment - it's not at all clear how to actually get in touch with anyone there as tickets go unanswered and forums go ignored...and then Cryptic is baffled about why we're not on the same page.
Some of the forums are built for our benefit. The community is more likely to be able to help someone than a dev because the devs have real work to do. And most problems that do arise are solved by the community (even if the OP only wants a dev response). Some forums are designed for the dev assigned to them in order to make it easier to see feedback on a particular subject. But I would say a good bit of the forums are designed for the community.

Originally Posted by Sekrit_Agent
3. The forums don't at all reflect how the players communicate with each other. We have all the forums and categories I mentioned in #1, but nothing for:
  • STFs
  • Borg Invasion Content
  • Fleet Actions
  • Accolades
  • Roleplay (maybe via Captain's Logs??)
Some of those are must-subscribe channels in-world. I realize chat and forums are not the same thing but the point is the current structure creates additional fragmentation of communication about the same topics to ourselves and the developers. I think if you merge and create some of these things, the forums will be more friendly to newcomers.
I agree with this. Although, I would suggest rolling the STFs and FAs into one forum as they are similar in structure.

Originally Posted by Sekrit_Agent
4. There are several flat-out cesspools on the forums that should be removed or reworked. The prime offender is Ten Forward where there are multiple posts of the same people meowing at each other for a year and posting garbage content that is better left for an in-world private mailing list or chat room. Even in an OT forum, this behavior should be strongly discouraged....aside from taking up valuable storage space where is the benefit of meaningful communication to anyone in the community outside of that group? The other main offender is the Fleet forums which are hundreds of pages of bump bump bump which apparently is tolerated as long as it doesn't say bump bump bump? Surely there's a better way to do this.
I agree with the fleet forum, not with Ten Forward. Ten Forward is designed to be an OT forum. While I understand some of them are circular discussions, you could say the same for the Galor Threadnaught. Almost all forums have an OT section and I have found involving myself in 10F a good way to get to know those who play the game.

As for taking up too much storage space, if that ever became a real issue I'll go to Best Buy and buy another 1TB harddrive so they can triple their storage space. Forum posts are essentially text files. They don't take up that much space.

Originally Posted by Sekrit_Agent
5. The forums should NOT be a substitute for official STO documentation. I get that the team is small but it's very difficult to understand the way overcomplicated mechanics and systems and dice rolls when the developers put formulas buried in the forums or worse, just left for players to figure out and hope they get it right (dilithium conversion fiasco, anyone?) Maybe dev blogs are a start to this, and I know STOWiki is another place some of this information lives. Maybe group these posts somewhere?
Some things they will never tell us (ie dice rolls) because of the proprietary nature of that information. Also, by providing that information it opens it up for exploitation. I agree there needs to be a clearer consolidation of dev posts, but that really is what the dev tracker is for. There is even a twitter account (@sto_devtrack) that links to those posts on twitter. They could hire someone with public affairs background to be their official voice *ahem* that would be able to dig deeper than PWE_Branflakes is allowed since he's essentially the web guru (and has other things to worry with).

Perhaps they could create a question box where all questions have to be approved in order to be visible and those that are made visible are done so only with a dev's response to the question. All forum rules would apply so if you spam the question box you run the risk of getting an infraction, but at least there would be a section designed specifically to ask the devs questions while keeping the crud to a minimum. They could have the forum separated by subject matter so there would be an entire thread based on ship art that includes both the questions and answers of everything related to art and so on.